Ottawa spends $1.23 million on Arviat’s young hunters program
“It’s a win-win-win,” says Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal
Arviat’s highly praised young hunters training program will receive about $1.23 million in federal money between now and 2022, the federal government has announced.
That announcement coincides with a visit to the Kivalliq region by Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, who travelled today to Rankin Inlet and then Arviat, where he met Premier Joe Savikataaq, who’s also the MLA for Arviat South.
“It’s an incredibly positive program because it involves young people, it involves young people partnering with elders, learning traditional ways of life, traditional hunting, traditional foods and at the same time, taking part in activities that address climate change,” Vandal told Nunatsiaq News from Rankin Inlet, where he was en route to Arviat.
The young hunters program, which started in 2012, is operated by Aqqiumavvik, the Arviat Wellness Society.
Its purpose is to have local elders and other instructors train young people between the ages of eight and 18 in the sustainable harvest of country food.
In addition to that, they receive training in environmental monitoring, especially observing the signs of climate change, through a program called the Ujjiqsuiniq Project.
“Ujjiqsuiniq” means the process that enables one to monitor and observe with confidence, the Aqqiumavvik website says.
To help them do that work, the program is getting funding from three federal programs:
• $412,062 over three years, from 2018 to 2021, from the Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program, which is run by Crown-Indigenous Relations Canada.
• $375,000 over three years, from 2018 to 2021 from the Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program, which is run by Crown-Indigenous Relations Canada.
• $439,954.00 over four years, from 2018 to 2022, from the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program, which is run by Indigenous Services Canada.
“Climate change is a huge issue in the North. Climate change is occurring at three times the rate of the south, and I think it’s a great marriage between young people and elders, learning how to re-introduce traditional foods into their diets, and hunting and survival skills,” he said.
“At the same time, they’re out on the ice, outside, measuring ice conditions and learning about climate change at the same time. So, it’s a win-win-win.”
This is Vandal’s first visit to Nunavut since his appointment to the Northern Affairs portfolio this past Nov. 20.
In that capacity he’s already visited Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Churchill and has met in Ottawa with a variety of territorial premiers and other northern leaders.
Today and tomorrow in Arviat, he’ll meet with Savikataaq to talk about how the federal and territorial governments can co-operate on Nunavut’s priorities, along with a series of other meetings that have been lined up.
Also, Vandal said he and Savikataaq will go out on the land tomorrow to meet some of the young hunters.